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From "Ross Gardler" <>
Subject Re: Mid term review
Date Sun, 15 Jul 2007 21:55:15 GMT
This mail is the conclusion of a private discussion between Sina and
myself. I am sending my conclusion to the public dev list since we
try, as far as possible, to do everything in public. Very occasionally
we have to do things in private as they are of a sensitive nature, but
this conclusion of our private discussion will benefit the whole

Doing things in public can be very difficult and is, without doubt,
the hardest thing to learn about open source.

This mail does not relate directly to our other GSoC candidate, only
to Sina for whom I am the assigned mentor.

For me, one of the benefits of the GSoC programme is that we get to
talk about these difficult issues so that others trying to get over
this initial involvement hurdle, i.e. those lurking here, can gain
some understanding of how things work.

For the benefit of those on the dev list, the background is that I
have to complete a mid term evaluation of Sina's involvement in the
GSoC programme. This is quite alien to the way we do open source
development around here. Under normal ASF community development models
everyone does what they are able to do at the pace they set for

Unfortunately within GSoC, Google define a set of criteria that a
student needs to satisfy in order to receive the mid term payment and
the final payment. The good news is that Google are clued into open
source development enough to allow the mentor the freedom to approve,
or otherwise, each payment.

So what am I looking for from our GSoC students?

As a mentor I want to see them learning about the way open source is
developed. I'm not too concerned about code outputs, more about
community development. Here at the ASF we say that if we look after
the community the code will look after itself. Unfortunately, looking
after the code is what most of us geeks do best!

In Sinas case he is new to the ASF and therefore has much to learn
about how we do things. Worse still he has to learn it faster than the
rest of us (For example, it took me years of lurking on ASF lists
before I started to get involved. GSoC students have to do it in a few

I want to see newcomers (not just GSoCers)  fully understand the value
of the community they are working with.

In the private conversation I mentioned at the start of this mail I
raise some concerns about Sinas involvement with our community. Sina
has recently demonstrated some understanding of the inner workings of
Forrest and has even shown signs of engaging with the community (the
hardest part). However, he is a long way behind the schedule he set at
the start of the programme.

Since I'm not worried about the code I wanted to ascertain whether
Sina had learned anything about our community. I'm pleased to say that
Sina has responded very positively to my observations and has shown a
good understanding of what I am hoping to achieve as his mentor.

Sina has asked me to help him get over the community engagement hurdle
and I am happy to do that. I am his assigned mentor and he should draw
on me much more than he has been able to do so to date. having mentors
within our community, outside of the GSoC programme, is something that
the ASF values a great deal. GSoC is also about us learning to be
better mentors.

We need to see more involvement on these lists from Sina, this means,
when a problem is hit, ask a question. If it is documented, we'll
point at the doc, if it is not we'll work on it together (we being the
community). There are no stupid questions around here, only unclear

Well done Sina, I look forward to working with you more closely in the
second half of the GSoC programme.


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